As a leader, you’ll already be conscious of your duty of care for your employees and even visitors to your workplace. Accidents can lead to loss of productivity, reputational damage, and even result in expensive personal injury claims which can take years to settle. So what are the practical steps you should be taking to ensure that your workplace is safe?
1. Lead from the top
Ensure that you’re sending a clear message through the organization – the goal is zero accidents. When one does occur, insist that it’s recorded immediately and that you’re informed, so you can follow up. Put safety reports on the agenda at meetings, and make safety a leadership KPI.
2. Carry out safety risk assessments
If you don’t have the expertise in-house, employ a consultant to carry out safety risk assessments in every part of your business. Ensure that every employee is aware of these and can access them easily.
3. Train employees effectively
Every employee should receive training based on the risk assessments for their area. Who is currently responsible for this training? Have they been trained to train effectively? Ensure that all training is recorded accurately, and signed by each trainee.
4. Reward safety-aware behavior.
Keep safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind by rewarding behavior that keeps people safe – for example, reporting possible hazards, keeping people away from potentially unsafe areas (eg a wet marble floor). Communicate the details and recognize those responsible in newsletters, social media, and town halls.
5. Use labels and signs.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, so highlight your safety messages with posters and signs around the workplace. Update these regularly so they continue to attract attention and don’t become ‘invisible’.
6. Keep things tidy
Sounds obvious, but many avoidable incidents take place because people have tripped over trailing cables, or crashed into open drawers. Pointing out any potential hazards when you walk around the workplace will help everyone to focus on what is and isn’t acceptable.
7. Encourage stretching breaks
Sitting at a desk for long periods can easily lead to back and neck problems as well as eye strain and headaches. Regular stretch breaks should be part of the daily routine. Refreshing the mind and body will help to keep your employees healthy and happy.
8. Provide the right tools and equipment
Whether your team is working on an oil platform or in an office, they need the right tools to carry out their work efficiently. Using the wrong tools is often a cause of serious accidents. Ensure that you’ve provided everything they need, and have it inspected regularly to avoid failure due to wear and tear.
9. Monitor hygiene practices
We’ve left this until last because, after the last year, every employer is (or should be) fully aware of the measures they need to take to ensure their employees and any visitors to their workplace are protected from Covid 19 infection.